Skyrim best perks for mage

Skyrim best perks for mage DEFAULT

Skyrim 13 Best Perks For All Classes Guide

All skills are available to the player from the start of the game, but perks need to be earned. Every time you use your preferred weapon or do a skill-related act like opening chests, enchanting your equipment, and buying from merchants, you gain skill experience. 

Max out your experience bar, and you level up. You level up, and you can enhance a stat and gain one perk point. The perk point is what you need to improve your skill.


You can max all skills to 100, but you cannot invest more points in perks. This means that you cannot get all perks in the game. Patch 1.9 allows players to reroll the player’s level to allow more perk points, but this process will require investing hundreds of hours of playing and grinding to max out all perks.

This guide will highlight some of the most useful skills to get in the game, so you invest your perk points in all right perks.


Enchantment/Smithing Tree


Enchantment and smithing are both a must-have skill-tree, regardless of which class or setup you are playing. It can make your character much stronger, especially if playing on a higher level of difficulty.

Here are the best perks for enchantment and smithing


Soul Siphon

Skill Tree: Enchanting (40) 

Soul Siphon requires a minimum of 40 levels in the Enchanting skill tree. This skill is invaluable in fighting with weapons. It recharges your enchanted weapon by 5% for each death blow you make, making it more deadly. This perk only activates with deathblows dealt on creature mobs and not on human or humanoid mobs.


Arcane Blacksmith

Arcane Blacksmith: Magical armors and weapons can now be improved

Skill Tree: Smithing (60)


Extra Effect

Extra effect: Can put two enchantments on the same item

Skill Tree: Enchanting (100)

Extra Effect will allow you to put two enchantments on an item. Use this combined with Arcane Blacksmith, and you can create your armor with the enchantment of your choosing, and then you can upgrade the item to make it more powerful. 


These two perks are a must-have for any adventurer. Gain access to Arcane Blacksmith first by unlocking it at level 60 Smithing and then leveling up your Enchanting skill to its maximum (100) to get Extra Effect.


Sneak Tree – Backstab/Assassin’s Blade

Skill Tree: Sneak (50)



Sneak attacks with one-handed weapons now do 6x damage.


Assassin’s Blade

Assassin’s Blade requires 50 levels of Sneak. Sneak attacks now do a total of 15x normal damage. Combine this with the gauntlets from the dark brotherhood for 30x damage.


If you want to be impressed, use a charged attack using two enchanted daggers on a dragon, and you will see it fall with only one hit. Getting this perk also affects other weapons’ damage output since you need to unlock perks that add Sneak-related damages to your bows and one-handed weapons. 


Silent Roll

Skill Tree: Sneak (50)

To unlock this skill, you need to have at least 50 levels of Sneak. This perk will allow you to move around by doing a barrel roll. You can close short distances in a dungeon with this skill. 


Also, since it’s under the Sneak skill tree, you can accomplish this without alerting nearby enemies of your presence. 


Silent Roll will afford you the chance of avoiding combat until you want to so you can continue exploring the dungeon. 


The more you do this skill, the more it improves and the harder you will be to detect. Get this skill together with the next on the list, Assassin’s Blade, and you will be a deadly undetectable force.

Magic Resistance

Skill Tree: Alteration (30)

As you journey around Tamriel, expect your enemies to pelt you with different types of attacks, and nothing is more annoying than magic attacks. 


Magic Resistance will allow you to block a percentage of a spell’s effect on you. This perk requires at least 30 skill levels in Alteration and getting the Apprentice Alteration perk. 


This particular perk has three levels. At level one, you can block 10% of a spell’s effects. Level two requires at least 50 Alteration skill level to block 20% of a spell’s effects. 


And level three requires at least 70 Alteration skill levels to block 30% of a spell’s effects. If you are playing as a Breton, you have an additional, character-specific 25% magic resistance for a total ranging from 35-55% with the perk.

Quiet Casting

Skill Tree: Illusion (50)


If you are playing as a mage, there is a way to be sneaky and the Quiet Casting perk. This perk requires a minimum of 50 levels in the Illusion skill. 

This perk will drop the volume of your spell casting to zero so you can sneak up on opponents without them noticing you. This perk affects not only Illusion spells but all spells from any school of magic. Now, if only you can remove that glowing aura around your hands.

Extra Pockets

Skill Tree: Pickpocket (50)

You can find this perk in the Pickpocket skill tree at skill level 50. This perk will allow you to carry more items before getting encumbered. More specifically, it adds 100 points to your carry weight, which is crucial if you love going into dungeons and just taking everything you can get your hands into. 


Combine with perk with another item, the Steed Stone, which also gives you an additional 100 points of carrying weight, and you can pretty much take all junks from a dungeon with you. The only way to increase your carry weight is to put points into your stamina outside these two methods.


If you are wondering how to reach level 50 in Pickpocket skill, the easier way is to put on enchanted gears. Wear either a Ring of Major Deft Hands or a Thieves’ Guild Armor, which increases your pickpocketing chances, walk up to an unsuspecting citizen of Tamriel, and steal away. Every item you steal adds to your level in the first 30 levels, so you can quickly rack up the experience points and even gain levels as you go.


Skill Tree: Alteration (100)


Those pesky mages are often tiresome to fight. They may have low defenses, but they can quickly wilt your HP, especially if several of them are barrelling down on you. To fight against such opponents, you need the perk called Atronach. Found at the top of the Alteration skill tree with a requirement of 100 skill levels, this perk will let you absorb 30% of the Magicka of the spells your enemies are using on you. 


This will allow you to fight fire with fire and win because you are using what your enemies are losing against them. Combine this perk with the standing stone called Atronach stone, and you are looking at a whopping 80% Magicka absorption because the standing stone increases it by 50%.

Master Trader

Skill Tree: Speech (100)

At the top of the Speech skill tree with 100 levels needed to unlock is the Master Trader perk. Skyrim’s realism is obvious whenever you interact with merchants. If you ever find yourself selling many expensive items to a merchant, you will see that the merchant limits how much money they have.

Thankfully, you have the Master Trader skill, which will permanently (and magically) increase the money merchants have on hand. This will allow you to sell more junks to merchants before finding another merchant to dump your items. 


Getting Master Trader also means that you have already increased the cash stash of merchants by 500 with the Investor perk so getting both somewhat doubles their available cash. Getting Master Trader likewise means that you already have the Fence perk, which allows you to sell the items you have stolen, intentionally or unintentionally, to any merchant. These perks are invaluable in helping you deal with your hoarding and pickpocketing problems.

Twin Souls

Skill Tree: Conjuration (100)


For those who are going for a Summoner build, you should get Twin Souls. This requires a maxed out Conjuration level, which you can quickly get by summoning dremoras and atronachs and resurrecting your fallen foes. 


This Conjuration perk will allow you to simultaneously have two conjured creatures at your behest. This will effectively double your firepower when fighting, especially in more severe difficulties because summoned creatures are not affected by difficulty level based damage modifiers.


Skill Tree: Lockpicking (100)


Unlocking Unbreakable requires 100 levels in Lockpicking, but that is all that you will ever need to open all chests in Tamriel with ease. Unbreakable makes it so that your lockpicks will never break, no matter how hard you try. 


This skill essentially makes other Lockpicking perks unnecessary and redundant. You can now unlock Master chests in high-level dungeons with just a single lockpick. This skill makes even an ordinary lockpick as good as the Thieve’s Guild’s Skeleton Key. No chest in Tamriel is now safe from being looted.



Various Dual Casting Perks

Skill Tree: Alteration (20) Conjuration (20) Destruction (20) Illusion (20) Restoration (20)

Within the five skill trees of magic in Skyrim are dual casting perks that will let you improve your magic spells’ proficiency and effectiveness. You can, of course, put a spell on both hands but the effectiveness of each spell is its normal effect. However, with the perk, you can overcharge the effect by using both hands simultaneously to get a more powerful, more effective spell. 


There is a downside to these spells, and that is expending more Magicka. Dual casting requires 2.8 times the spell cost to get increased spell effectiveness of 2.2 times.


Dual casting affects the different magic schools in different ways. 


The Illusion Dual Casting perk, together with other perks like Animage or Kindred Mage, will increase the maximum possible level of creatures that Illusion spells can affect. 


The Conjuration Dual Casting will likewise affect higher-level summons when using spells like Command Daedra and Banish Daedra. 


Conjuration Dual Casting also increases the duration of your summons. Alteration Dual Casting also increased time. 


For Restoration Dual Casting, protective spells gain duration, and healing spells heal you faster but at the cost of 40% additional Magicka than when using the healing spell on its own. 


Destruction Dual Casting likewise increases your magic potency by 10% but increases 40% more Magicka than normal. 


Destruction Dual Casting will also let you stagger your opponent, which gives you an opening. The biggest drawback to dual casting would have to be experience gained. Dual casting a spell yields the same experience as casting a spell on one hand. 

First time playing this game.. i start mage with destruction spell (fire). 8 lvl atm.. i got much perks left still.. what others i should put than destuction line.. heal and 25% magica regen etc?

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Best Mage Build in "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim"

I'm David Zermeño. I love video games, especially RPG, RTS and MMORPGs. I'm a pro-gamer and reviewer of many popular titles.

Why Play as a Mage?

In the world of Skyrim, most inhabitants are warriors, thieves, or archers. Mages are few and far between. That's why being a mage in this land can be a real challenge. Though, when done right, it is an incredibly rewarding and fun way to play the game.

Of course, whether you're a battle, healer, or pure mage, in the end, it all boils down to the question, "Are you good at it?" With this guide, you will learn new tips to improve your battle tactics with better gear, enchantments, skills, and attributes.

In Skyrim, the advantage of every class is the flexibility of the system. You can alter a build just by clicking a different perk or wearing different armor. This gives you lots of choices: not least is the choice between building a Pure Mage or a Hybrid Class. You only need to be a little familiarized with the game for this tutorial to work wonders for your gameplay. Playing a mage can be hard but super fun. It just depends on your abilities and your level of patience.

Note: I will be explaining the raising method with an X/Y/W style. This refers to points spent on Health, Stamina, and Magicka. For example, if I say that every 10 levels you should use 5 points on Health, 3 points on Stamina and 2 points on Magicka, this would be a 50/30/20 (in percentages).

Which Races Make the Best Mages?

Certain races make better mages than others. Read on to learn which ones!


The High Elves begin with a +10 in Illusion and +5 in Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Enchanting, and Restoration schools of magic. This kind of advantage is amazing for any magic wielder. The Altmer are the best option for a player willing to take the risk of being a Pure Mage, but they can be also good as Battle Mages, Conjurers, Wizards, Necromancers, Dark Knights and Paladins. They lack a good defense in comparison to other races but you can sacrifice some damage for some armor, or apply a magic defensive spell.


Bretons get a +10 in Conjuration, +5 in Alteration, Restoration, Illusion, Alchemy, and Speech. This is a jack of all trades magic race, which makes them especially good for the hybrid Mage classes. They can also absorb magic attack thanks to the racial spell "Dragonskin," making Bretons more durable against magic users. The Bretons are good as pure Mages, but they are the most dangerous and powerful when played as one of the hybrid classes. You can choose to make a Breton a more durable class like a Paladin, Death Knight, Wizard or Magi-Assassin. In my personal experience, they also make great Battle Mages, though this can be a hard task.


Dunmers, also known as Dark Elves, start with +10 in Destruction and +5 in Alchemy, Alteration, Illusion, Light Armor, and Sneak. Their mastery in Destruction Magic makes them really dangerous early in the game and can cause serious damage in the hand of a good player. Dunmer are hard to level up as mages, but with patience and perseverance, they can be real champions. They are best oriented as Wizards or Magi-assassins.

Types of Magic

In Skyrim, there are six schools of magic. You can create a unique combination of skills, attributes, and tactics from any of these. There are also classes of mage that include combinations of skills. You can take the basic skill build of one of these classes and adapt it to your play style.

Schools of MagicSkills


Summons magical creatures and weapons.


Offensive elemental magic such as fire, frost, and shock.


Creation and life force magic. Used for healing and defense.


Uses reality-altering barriers and spells.


: Manipulates the mind of the enemy to cause fear or confusion.


Adds magical effects to weapons and armor.

Types of Mages

There are several ways to combine the schools of magic into a good mage build. Here are the six most popular types of build for a mage:

Mage Builds

  1. Pure Mage
  2. Battle Mage
  3. Conjuration-Oriented
  4. Illusion-Oriented
  5. Destruction-Oriented
  6. Restoration/Alteration-Oriented

1. Pure Mage

The Pure Mage is the basic build for a magic oriented character. This build focuses heavily on magic and mostly ignores the use of weapons or armor. I recommend relying heavily on Magicka and the use of spells with a single enchanted dagger and a couple of magic staffs for backup.

  • Offense: Most of the pure mages use Destruction and Conjuration magic as offense and Restoration magic as a backup. This gives you the option to use dual-wielded magic or one-handed spells. Of course, always have a staff on hand for backup and to inflict extra damage.
  • Defense: In this build, you can use Light Armor with Alteration for defense, or you can go hard-core purist and not wear any armor at all. This will be challenging at first, but using those armor points for magic and spellcasting will pay off.
  • Leveling: You will need all the magic for this build! I recommend leveling up Magicka/Health/Stamina in a 60/20/20 ratio.

It's important to be patient! At first, you will die a lot, but when you get used to the rhythm of being a mage, you will be unstoppable.

2. Battle Mage

This build is a hard one to master. It's really fun, but requires some serious planning to get the right balance of skills. A battle mage in the right hands can destroy everything. They are known for being a Jack of all trades, simultaneously mastering arcane power and physical combat. This build relies on a magic/combat mix. When your spells are out of Magicka then your faithful weapons are ready for battle, unleashing powerful attacks.

  • Offense: Some builds recommend having a dual-wielded spell ready at the beginning of combat, but personally I prefer to play with a One-Handed weapon/staff in one hand and a spell in the other hand. Make sure to use Smithing for upgrades in weapons, and always try to have the best one-handed weapon available. One-handed and Destruction are your main damage sources, with Conjuration Magic as a backup.
  • Defense: Use Heavy Armor as protection, with Enchanting for extra damage in your armor and weapons. Restoration will come in handy for support, both for healing yourself and members of your party.
  • Leveling: This build requires a leveling up in Health/Stamina/Magicka with a ratio of 30/30/40. When you reach level 200 in Magicka then swap the balance into 40/40/20 or 50/30/20.

3. Conjuration-Oriented

This build is useful for players who don't know how to be agile with their mages. The Conjuration School gives you access to powerful minions. These minions deal extra damage, offer support, and are great for tanking.

Necromancers and death knights tend to use the most conjuration for extra support in battle. Necromancers are more fragile due to light armor but suffer less stamina penalty. Death knights, on the other hand, use heavy armor, making more use of stamina but also making them ideal tanks for close-quarters combat.

  • Offense: One-handed and Destruction are your main damage sources, Smithing for upgrades in weapons (always try to have the best one-handed weapon available). Use Enchanting for extra damage in your armor and weapons.
  • Defense: Use heavy Armor as protection and Restoration for support.
  • Leveling: (For a Necromancer) Magicka/Health/Stamina: 60/20/20.
    For a Death Knight: 60/20/20. When magic hits 200, switch to 20/40/40.

4. Illusion-Oriented

Illusion oriented is a tricky build that requires a lot of knowledge of the game. Illusion magic is usually limited to support and crowd control, but some sneaky mages known as "Magi-Assassins" can use this type of spell to diminish enemies in the field and finish the fight with Destruction and Conjuration Magic. This is a really fun build, though it can be frustrating at first. You must be good at Sneak and be mindful of tactics. The proper spell against the proper enemy can make a big difference with this build.

  • Offense: One-Handed and Destruction are your main damage sources, with Illusionfor crowd control.
  • Defense: Light Armor allows you speed and flexibility, with Sneak for covert movement in battle.
  • Leveling: This build requires a leveling of Magicka/Health/Stamina of 60/30/10.

5. Destruction-Oriented

This is the classic build for almost everyone in Skyrim. It offers full damage and movement on the battlefield, allowing you to evade attacks and destroy the enemy as fast as possible. It's really fun at the beginning but can be a little monotonous in the later levels.

  • Offense: You can Dual-Wield Destruction Magic for max damage and choose between Conjuration or Alteration for support
  • Defense: Light Armor for defense and Restoration for healing, especially in dangerous situations.
  • Leveling: This build requires a leveling of Magicka/Health/Stamina of 60/20/20.

WARNING: This build requires a good tank as a companion because the destruction magic is really noisy and attracts the attention of more enemies, sometimes causing a mess in the battlefield.

6. Restoration/Alteration-Oriented

The almighty Healer or Buffer of every game. In this case, using Restoration/Alteration Magic will bring death only to the undead and vampires in the game. However, if you create a Paladin, you'll be a master in buffing yourself with Alteration Magic and restoring health and Stamina. Add the proper perks in Restoration Magic and wield an enchanted blade with the support of Conjuration or Destruction. You'll find this is a fun way to play and means you can endure a lot of damage.

  • Offense: One-handed and Destruction are your main damage sources. Use Smithing for upgrades in weapons. Always try to have the best one-handed weapon available.
  • Defense: UseHeavy Armor as protection, Restoration/Alteration for support, and Enchanting for extra power in your armor and weapons.
  • Leveling: This Build requires a leveling up in Health/Stamina/Magicka in a ratio of 30/30/40. When you reach 200 in Magicka, then swap the balance to 40/40/20 or 50/30/20.

Recommended Mods

First of all, I'll recommend that you only download mods from "," it's a trustworthy page with many options and services to manage and update your mods.

Top 10 Mods for Mages

  • Apocalypse - Magic of Skyrimby Enai Siaion: This mod adds 155 high-quality spells to Skyrim, giving the Magic Schools a lot more options to engage in combat, restoration and even summon different minions to fight for you, this mod is a MUST in your game.
  • SkyUIby SkyUI Team: This mod is not focused only for magic is an overall upgrade to the game UI, this new elegant, PC-friendly and easy to use UI is really useful when you need to manage many items, weapons, and spells, this mod made improvements in the style of the original interface making it more user friendly.
  • Ordinator - Perks of Skyrimby Enai Siaion: There are many overhauls mods to the talent trees of the Vanilla Skyrim in NexusMods, but I'll recommend you this one because of the lightweight scripts and the user friendly interface and options, this mod will not change drastically the Vanilla Skyrim like other Overhauls, this mod instead will upgrade the already known talent trees and fix some problem with synergy and utility. It's an amazing mod and the perfect option if you don't want to change a lot the Vanilla Skyrim feeling. This mod also adds several utilities to the magic schools, making the spells stronger and work with more synergy between schools.
  • Immersive Armorsby Hothtrooper44: If you're looking to be a mighty and powerful mage, you can't use the common and basic gear from the Vanilla Skyrim, you need new and exciting gear, Hothtrooper44 made a compilation of gear mods and it's amazing, you can find more than 55 armor sets from cloth to plate, new and incredible helmets, shields, capes, scarves and more! This mod is really useful when you're looking for the battlemage or paladin builds, you can find unique styles for these options.
  • Immersive Weaponsby Hothtrooper44, Ironman5000, and Eckss: Just like Immersive Armors, Hothtrooper44 and company made a mod with several options of new and unique weapons, I always recommend this one, because the Vanilla Skyrim has really few weapon options, this mod expand the weapons styles and even make new ones to create new builds to your character.
  • Alternate Start - Live Another Lifeby Arthmoor: If you already played Skyrim, you'll understand that the worst thing of making and alternate character is the beginning, this mod makes the start of a new character much more enjoyable without sacrificing immersion and lore, you will find many options to start your new adventure and even you can start as a vampire or necromancer, each starting point add something unique to your story and there are some race unique starting points.
    • WARNING: This mod is not recommended if you're new to the game.
  • Immersive Patrolsby Scrabbulor: This mod adds fully functional patrols across Skyrim even from the DLC's, this gives a lot of immersion to the game, you'll sometimes find patrols and warzones between faction while you're on your adventures, it's really clean and simple, but adds a lot of life to the game, mostly on the roads and even in some open world towns and villages.
  • Falskaarby AlexanderJVelicky: This mod adds 20–30+ hours of content, this is a non official DLC, but it's so well done and with a lot of effort in the design, soundtrack, and fully voiced experience, it's really the best non-official DLC, if you're looking to conquer a new piece of land, this mod will give you a new adventure and new challenges to complete.
  • Immersive Citizens - AI Overhaulby Arnaud dOrchymont andInteresting NPCsby Kris Takahashi: if you have good performance CPU, then I'll recommend you these mods, this adds many NPC's and an upgrade to their AI, making the daily life more interesting, you'll find from beggars asking for charity around the market, to hunter in the wild stalking their prey to sell it in the cities, this mods in combination are incredible, warriors will engage you in melee combat, while archers and mages will try to keep your distance in combat, and if they cannot they'll engage in melee instead of hitting you with the bow or will cast a minion to keep you occupied while they search a more strategic spot.
  • All Unofficial Skyrim Patches: You'll find a Skyrim Legendary: Edition, Vanilla Skyrim, Dawnguard, Dragonborn, Hearthfire and High-Resolution Patches, this is always the recommended mods to any game, even if you don't want a modded Skyrim, I'll encourage to download this patches, they fix and eliminate several bugs from the NPC's, quests, combat, enemies and events during the game, they're not in the #1 position but they're a MUST in every game.

Best Companions

As a mage, you need to have some good companions with you. Here are some of the ones best suited to be your companion as a mage in Skyrim.

  1. Lydia: She is the first to fight with you in your journey and is valuable in the first missions. Lydia is extra useful for mages because she's a really good tank in battle.
  2. Erik: You must fulfill a quest in Rorikstead before being able to fight alongside him. He's a good tank and he has good AI.
  3. Aela: Available with the Companions, she is a Master in ranged attacks. Perfect for ranged support for mages.
  4. Cicero: The funniest companion and famous because he's silent and deadly. Specialized in Sneak, he can deliver mortal strikes against your foes in battle.
    • SPOILER: He's available in a series of quests in the Dark Brotherhood. You must let him live if you want him as a companion.
  5. Barbas: The dog follower. Barbas is useful because he can be used alongside the Dark Brotherhood Initiate, making a double combination of bodyguards. Find him outside of Falkreath, where you will begin a quest for a Daedra Lord.
  6. Marcurio: The most famous and intelligent AI wizard in the game, this companion is inside the Bee and Bard in Riften. He's perfect for a double combination of magic, making your Destruction even more powerful in battle.
  7. J'zargo: Really powerful Khajiit with an amazing dual casting in Destruction Magic. He is also able to wear heavy armor, making him a powerful Battle Mage.
  8. Mjoll the Lioness: Simple. Mjoll is the invincible Barbarian-style warrior, making her the perfect tank in the game.

A Rewarding Character Build

By following this guide, you can build your own powerful mage character in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The class may be more complicated than others, but having a well-rounded mage is incredibly rewarding and fun.

Please feel free to provide feedback, vote up, or comment about experiences and adventures!

Questions & Answers

Question: I play a pure stealth mage, no armor, conjured weapons, and destruction when found, why isn't this on the list?

Answer: Within the world of Skyrim you can find more than 120 archetypes of classes, I mentioned the more popular but thanks for you comment, I'll edit my article to add it after I do an online research about the stealth mage.

© 2013 David Zermeño


Siahnara on April 08, 2020:

I am currently running a pure mage challenge run where all I can do is use magic spells, no weapons, not evens staffs. I can only wear robes, hoods, circlets, jewelry, and non-armour boots and gloves. I also put the limitation of no bound weapons either, for the extra challenge. I am rather enjoying it even with all of the limitations.

Andy on March 10, 2019:

Dont waste levels on stamina. It will be completely pointless when you have Respite and close wounds completely restores the stamina bar. Also, you left out spellsword, which is light armor, onr handed, and restoration. If you base an entire character off of Illusion, alteration, or restoration you are NOT going to do very well

Jordan on December 10, 2018:

Are these mods available on Xbox as well? Somebody online said no but I do not fully believe that.

Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on November 26, 2018:

I've always played as a Nord in Skyrim, although thanks to the Thieves' Guild I've always ended up specializing in stealth and archery.

I recently started playing again and made a Dunmer character focusing on magic (but also one-handed). It's tough to get used to but I'm completely in love with Destruction magic. There are few things more satisfying in battle than sending a fireball hurtling at your enemies.

I also married Mjoll the Lioness this time round. Though I'm avoiding "evil" quests like the Dark Brotherhood, this playthrough is a lot of fun!

Skyrim Pro on July 25, 2018:

Legend, I really like illusion because if you in a tough spot like bandit, you can you illusion to make them run away of to calm down.

Legend on July 06, 2018:

I really like conjugation magic because you can just let you’re minions distract the enemy while you heal and you don’t really have to face enemies that are really strong

Vrakjurn on May 31, 2017:

Won't lie, play as a battlemage but I still love to duel wield. Mix that with storming a fortress and some 80's rock. Feels like that cards against humanity card, being a sorcerer.

Chongola on March 02, 2017:

How about the mountain climbing with the horse?

Wew on January 03, 2017:

Yes, i do and i did it actually. Recently, my sword reach 600 damage with this trick for all those improve crafting gear and improve one-handed weapon gear.

St. Crab on December 27, 2016:

Has ANYONE yet figured out the loophole that is Alchemy/Enchanting??? You make a potion that makes your enchanting better, you enchant a custom set of alchemy gear, and continue repeating the process over and over and over until you can enchant a custom set of mage gear and cast all your spells for free (eg: Enchant a hood, amulet, ring, and wear master robes of *insert preferred magic school* and if you have them enchanted to the point where every piece reduces cost of, lets say, Destruction to 25%, then 25% [ring] +25% [hood] +25% [necklace] + the 22% from the Master robes = a grand total of: 97%. You're laughing at this point, even on Legendary.

wiz on November 21, 2016:

Having over 1300 hours of gameplay in skyrim, modded it hard, I used to play an assassin/thief and dual wield. But my mods make it kinda hard to fight off alone against dozens, sometimes hundreds of enemies. Also, while playing all of the time on legendary difficulty it doesn't matter how much armor I have or health, I just got torn apart by enemies. But there are lots of balanced magic mods that create new tactics and tricks for gameplay, and few of them are already in vanilla skyrim, so I just started playing as a pure mage. Kinda, I still have my sneak as a defence in early game. But I literally can go and clear any dungeon in the game using only a single school of magic, as long as it's not alteration. Killing enemies with restoration or illusion, that's kinda fun. I'm going always with no physical weapons and 0 armor, to make gameplay extra hard, but it's just enjoyable challenging. And after level 50 or so, I can soak up better dmg than any tank character in the game. I don't use any cheats or cheat like mods in my opinion, but just combining possibilities makes it feel like cheating.. Like having most dragons mod to increase dragons in game a lot, then dragon soul trading mods that allow me to convert souls for skills or perk points, or just for health/stamina/magicka. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, how can I die with 5k health right? Nah, having only 300 health is enough, all I need is a huge magicka reserve to keep myself protected by spells I have from spellcrafting. Not to mention my dmg output is huge, throwing a thunderbold on dual cast does past 1k dmg, but it still doesn't much of a scratch some enemies, But that just means I need to get creative. Of course dealing with bandits it's just spamming master level illusion and destruction spells combined with become ethernal shout

Ian on November 17, 2016:

Thank you, this was very informative!

Austinfett23 on October 18, 2016:

Man, I was really blown away from the lack of magic users in the world. I messed up on my first character when I started playing oblivion. Restarted with an Altmer mage because the diversity in its usefulness. (Lockpicking and invisibilty) you pick very hard locks in a poof I'm saying. But the levels come fast on a high born, tho you are really underpowered at first folks, so just give it time, the rewards are awesome. I ended the game lvl 100 on all schools of magic. You are simply untouchable. I play as a main magic user in any game I play now. Also, nothing beats putting a fireball up a dragons ass while it's in mid flight. I am the one.

Conji on October 12, 2016:

Had a lot of fun with a Conjuration Build Based on a conjured 2 handed Battle Axe and Summoning Combined with Mage Armor. Just the Role Playing fun of being a normal guy in normal clothes and suddenly, ... BAM ... Demons to scare you and invincible Armor and Battleaxe to the face out of nowhere :)

David Zermeño (author) from Mexico on June 12, 2016:

Thanks a lot for checking my Hub CYong74 .

I know that the Magic combat in the Vanilla Skyrim is awful, it lacks of power and orientation, that's why I would recomend you to get some Mods from the Nexus, in that community you'll find tons and tons of mods, some really useful others not so much, but you'll find a tab with Categories, look for MAGIC, and you'll find the Apocalypse Mod, the best one for overhauling the Magic in Skyrim giving you and all de NPC's new types of spells. Have fun :)

I will also leave you the link to the nexus:

Ced Yong from Asia on June 07, 2016:

I've been trying to play a mage since the start, but inevitable I resort to melee. The latter usually being far more effective. :( I think some reviews might be right in saying mage gameplay is somewhat underpowered.

Skibar on September 28, 2015:

Excellent infos. Thanks!

I'm trying to make a Destruction Oriented mage. But always carry with me a good shield, okay It is not a common combination, but shield on the left and destruction on the right proved to me an excellent way to combat warriors enemies.

Especially when you block those deadly attacks with two-handed weapons.

By the way, as would be classified, a mage with a shield? xD

Think it would be very similar to Cap. America with their shield and no weapons. But as a mage, using destruction and conjuration.

David Zermeño (author) from Mexico on January 15, 2015:

Thanks a lot for the feedback Ethan, it's great to see this kind of comments; I will try to make another 2 hubs, one about the stealthier classes and range classes, and aother hub about PC moddification for the Ultimate Skyrim Game (still lore friendly).

Ethan Digby-New on January 14, 2015:

This was very interesting. Although Skyrim didn't get the best of reviews, I greatly enjoyed it, though I was more of an overpowered archer. Great Hub, with a ton of information!

Papoy D Wizzard on January 09, 2015:

Arch-Mage, simple, nice, I like it, but not very much :P Anyway, thanks for the answer.

About that guide, I'm not sure if i can tell you anthing new.

I started with using only destruction and restoration (if needed) and cast mage armour before fight. I wanted to use maokai, but i accidentally took mage armour perk in alteration xd so i had to stick with mage circrlet. And after i got maokai, he's just gathering dust in Hjerim.

After mastering Destruction and Aletration, I'm now relying as much as possible on conjuration (going kinda slow, only 30), and I have power lvled illusion. I have made a plan of witch perks to take in each scool.

Destruction: all perks except rune master.

Aetration: all perks (had to xd)

Restoration:Novice-Adept, Ward Absorb, Regeneration (2 or theres just 1 can't rememb :3) , Necromage, Recovery (2), Avoid Death.

Illusion: All perks (some1 who doesn't like doesn't need to take all, but I just love it).

Conjuration: Novice-Expert, Summoner (1), Atromancy, Elemental Potency, Twin souls (2 dremoras, no better companion)

Sneak: Stealth (1), Muffled movement

That would be all that I would take,.. I was counting long ago, and I think that, to take all these perks, one must be lvl 65, but don't hold me for my word, it just hates me to count again. There are still 15 perks to use, And i was thinking, Enchanting, or two more perks in sneak: for light foot and silent roll, but its all up to u guys.

For guardian stone I use atronach, aprentice would do the job to, but i just despise weaknes to magic.

Shouts: 1) definitely Slow Time 2) Marked for Death 3) Aura Whisper (1 word, more are unnececary)

Fire Breath, Frost Breath, Unrelenting force by situation. Oh, they are all by situation. Nvm use witch u prefer, there isn't a bad one.

About Magica, Health, Stamina... I have 210 hp and bout 600 magica and 100 stamina, I don't have any special schedule, I simply go by need, not sure how that helps xd. Anyway, having 400 base hp, and 720 base magica is nice idea to me, so I'm going that. Arch mage robes Maokai or mage circlet (witch will deside will u take 3 mage armour perks in Aletration) Arch-mage boots, gloves (dark elfs hands are ugly), ring and necklase by wish, I prefer larger magica pool.

P.S. Owning master spells from all schools is NECESSERY, you're strongest mage in Nirin, and game isn't fun without certan dose of role plays. I hope this helps.

David Zermeño (author) from Mexico on January 08, 2015:

You're a Jack of all Trades or I would like to name it as an Arch-Mage, the master of all the magical sources.

You can name it if you like, I can add your style in this guide also if you give me some tips to do a nice guide.

thanks for reading.

David Zermeño (author) from Mexico on January 08, 2015:

Thanks for reading, it's a pleasure to help the community :)

Papoy D Wizzard on January 08, 2015:

If these classes are all,... THEN WHAT THE HELL I AM?

I'm playing my mage with dark elf. I'm 39 lvl and i have maxed destruction (all perks except rune master) maxed aletration (1 mage armour perk left),.. My point is, that i have maxed 2, witch combination: destruction aletration isn't mentioned here, things and now started to take all perks in illusion and only neccecery ones in conjuratin (so summoning 2 dremoras wouldn't be a problem), restoration (so healing myself and companions would be easyer), illusion (my favorite and to be able to calm those damn dragon prests). I simply want to be good in every mage skill tree, and there just isn't name for it. How should I call it? Shalidor Second Generation? Certanly all mage-type-lovers in skyrim tried to make somethin like this at least once, but i didn't see any1 name it yet. All-mage-skill-trees-mastered-type of mage, I would want to know official name for it. Please :-3

P.S. 2 perks in sneak (stealth, muffled movement) some NPC's are better not taken head-on from very start, and make that damn invisibility useful.

NathaN on November 05, 2014:

Grear guide!! Thanks for the tips.

Sean H from USA on August 25, 2014:

I was always a fan of simple hack-and-slash warrior way in ARPG because creating mage character in Skyrim was a bit too complex for me. But, this article has opened by eyes into realm of different mages in Skyrim. It's like I've realized a bunch of whole new features in the game! Thanks for the article dude!

Samuel Franklin on August 22, 2014:

I've always wanted to find the time to replay Skyrim as a mage, I made my way through my first playthrough as running a rogue/archer type class but always wished I had gone the mage route.

I feel like the traditional destruction or conjuration is probably the path I'd be inclined to take.

Janus Joshua Angeles from Philippines on July 12, 2014:


Skyrim - Alteration Perks - Worth It?
I'm a pure mage (no melee/archery) and so far i spent perks on destruction skills (not all but many)

i'm also thinking about investing in conjuration (this seems to be the common way to go?)

can someone relate their pure mage build (i'd like to hear from some people who are high levels/far in the game) and give specifics about what specific perks to invest in?

GT- Reyes7J

conjuration is op

Deo evicto eum occidam ut se quendam deum fiam.

Reyes7J (Topic Creator)9 years ago#3
can someone help me with the perks? im level 14/15 right now

for destruction i took all the fire/frost/lightning perks except the very last ones (the perks that come into play when you get an enemy's health very low). I also took the dual casting perks and impact. Plus the ones that use half the magicka for adept spells. Am I missing anything important?

as for conjuration, that's where I need help- I'm clueless here and I'm guessing I need to fill the left tree up (for conjuring fire atronachs?)

GT- Reyes7J

Was no need to take all three elements. I just settle for shock. that way you get more perks.

PSN - Falcahtas

Get alteration, conjuration, and restoration.

with Conjuration, only get stuff with atronaches. dont waste perks on duel castings, except for destruction.

Conjuration and Restoration are a must. The Restoration perks to heal stamina as well as magicka, the perk to have magikca regenerate 50% faster is good. Wards are helpful, and summoning Daedric Lords will save your life against the tougher enemies.

Get dual atronarchs summons, and the necromancy perks if you're okay with that stuff,

"Since everybody here is deadset on not being intelligent, let me start things off."- SterlingFox


Alteration is super useful too. Mage armour helps alot, along with magic resist and absorbing

ShockWav3 posted...
Conjuration and Restoration are a must. The Restoration perks to heal stamina as well as magicka, the perk to have magikca regenerate 50% faster is good. Wards are helpful, and summoning Daedric Lords will save your life against the tougher enemies.

Get dual atronarchs summons, and the necromancy perks if you're okay with that stuff,

As a pure mage, getting the stamina restoration one is a bit of a waste. I guess it could be useful for sprinting away, but you shouldn't need to use very much stamina as a pure mage.

My level 25 Pure Mage Build:

High Elf
Atronach Stone

Destruction up to Expert level casting
Augmented Flames 1 and 2
Augmented Shock 1 and 2
Destruction Dual Cast

Alteration up to Adept level casting
Mage armor 1 2 and 3
Magic Resistance 1 and 2

Restoration up to Apprentice level
Magicka Regeneration
The perk which allows you to heal more HP

These three skills are great, but I'd also suggest Conjuration. I should have invested in it earlier to be honest, it has some excellent spells.

Oh, never level up Stamina, ever. Health you can get a few points here and there, but 80% of your level ups go to Magicka.


Mage perks for skyrim best

Skyrim: 10 Amazing Perks For Spellcasters

Spellcasters in Bethesda's Elder Scrolls games serve as some of the most powerful beings in existence. After all, in Tamriel, spellcasters can manipulate the very fabric of existence to create illusions, manipulate the elements, and summon various beings. Moreover, players of modern Elder Scrolls games like Skyrimknow in-depth how powerful the world's eight magic schools are, each possessing their own unique spells and effects. Skilled mages can easily overpower most enemies in the game with just a few select spells.

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However, players who want to maximize their characters know building a spellcaster also relies on the right numbers. Players who want to fully optimize their spellcaster builds might want to focus on certain perks that enhance their spells' potency and efficiency.

10 Recovery (Restoration)

Spellcasters who focus too much on firepower could likely die easily with a few hits or find themselves lacking Magicka to cast spells. To remedy that, investing in 60 Restoration could easily grant spellcasters with the Recovery Perk, a valuable asset for their sustainability.

With two ranks in Recovery, players get a 50-percent speed boost when recovering Magicka. This advantage alone is crucial, allowing casters to regain Magicka much faster and thus keep a steady flow of spells coming during dicey combat encounters.

9 Augmented (Destruction)

Spellcasters who want to dish out the most damage are likely more than well aware that Destruction is the best magic school for their needs. The diverse effects of Fire, Frost, and Shock-based spells can change the tide of battle easily. Long and short of it, Fire-based spells cost less Magicka but deal damage-over-time and increase damage taken by the target. Meanwhile, Frost-based spells deal damage to both Health and Stamina while slowing targets. Lastly, Shock-based spells are great for fighting other mages, as they'll deplete the target's Magicka alongside their health.

Players should focus on boosting one kind of Destruction damage type to maximize their benefits. With the help of Augmented Perks, players can cause certain elemental spells to add up to 50-percent damage boost against opponents.

8 Dual-Casting (Destruction)

In Skyrim, Dual-Casting means casting a spell with both hands. While this doesn't ordinarily add any enhancements to a spell, certain Perks can "overcharge" spells in this manner and boost their effects. Granted, opting to Dual-Cast certain spells can cost around 40-percent more Magicka, making it an impractical choice for starters.

However, players can maximize their Dual-Casting opportunities by being able to reduce the cost of Destruction spells to zero or near those numbers. That way, players can use Dual-Cast to get a Destruction spell boost without costing any Magicka. Players who want a Destruction-centric build could also purchase the Master Destruction Perk (which halves the Magicka cost of Master-level Destruction spells) to maximize Dual-Casting for this school.

7 Impact (Destruction)

Despite the extra Magicka cost for Dual-Casting, earning 40 Destruction to get Impact can actually amp up a spellcaster's arsenal of Destruction spells. Thanks to Impact, most of the Destruction spells that players use can actually stagger opponents. This factor can be extremely beneficial against bosses and harder opponents, as staggering them with spells can pause their assault and give players enough time to reassess their situation.

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Likewise, more offensive spellcasters can use Impact's stagger and Recovery (Restoration) to regain Magicka quickly for another staggering round of spells.

6 Summoner (Conjuration)

Spellcasters who want less offensive-oriented builds might opt for Conjuration spells instead, which they can use to summon various creatures to fight on their behalf. Essentially, Conjuration transforms mages into summoners. With Conjuration, players can summon Familiars, Zombies, Revenants, Dremora, and even Atronachs. Interestingly, Conjuration can also summon weapons that players can use in battle — some of which are even stronger than conventional weapons.

However, players who want to maximize their summoning potential should invest in both ranks of Summoner, which they can obtain at 70 Conjuration. With this Perk, they can unlock various Atronach summons or raise more undead at a large distance.

5 Twin Souls (Conjuration)

Players who want full summoner builds should tap into Conjuration's Twin Souls Perk. Granted, they can only obtain this perk at 100 Conjuration. However, this Perk does enable players to summon two Atronachs or raise two reanimated zombies. These minions can easily turn the tide of battle, even for the short while that they're on the battlefield.

Twin Souls works best in tandem with Alteration spells that call on various allies as well. With these spells, players can have a small army fighting their battles for them.

4 Hypnotic Gaze (Illusion)

With Illusion spells, players can twist the environment around them to make targets believe what they want. More potent Illusion spells such as Fury, Calm, Fear, and Frenzy can manipulate enemies into various situations.

RELATED: Elder Scrolls Online: 10 Best Templar Builds, Ranked (For 2020)

Players facing a tough opponent can find room to recuperate with Calm. With this spell, enemies affected won't attack for half a minute. This spell gives casters enough room to run away, recover, or prepare their spells for an inevitable rematch. With the Hypnotic Gaze Perk, Calm spells can work on much stronger opponents, enabling players to escape even the toughest encounters.

3 Rage (Illusion)

Why should players cast damaging spells or summon creatures when their enemies can fight each other? Spells like Frenzy and Mayhem can cause NPCs to attack any nearby creatures in a fit of rage, including their own allies. Moreover, the Illusion's Rage Perk can affect higher-level opponents with Frenzy spells, essentially making enemies pick themselves off before the player finishes the battle.

In turn, Rage becomes an especially useful spell for spellcaster builds that want to rely on stealth and subterfuge. After all, clearing a dungeon of enemies by forcing enemies to kill each other from afar is nothing short of diabolical.

2 Magic Resistance (Alteration)

Despite the efficiency of some spells, it's important for spellcasters to get adequate defense. However, defense isn't just about protection against melee attacks. Rather, spellcasters need adequate defense against other mages as well. With Alteration's Magic Resistance, players can get valuable defensive boosts against spell effects.

Magic Resistance, on its first level, can grant 10-percent of a spell's effects. However, three ranks in Magic Resistance can grant up to 30-percent protection from a spell's effects. This benefit can become extremely useful when paired with something like a shield with sufficient Block for Elemental Protection.

1 Stability (Alteration)

Aside from Conjuration, Alteration serves as a great alternative to non-combative spellcaster builds. Alteration has spells allotted that can teleport pet followers to the user. These pet followers can add tremendous firepower to a spellcaster's team of summons.

Moreover, Alteration's Stability Perk can prolong the duration of Alteration spells by half, which becomes a great boost for summon-based Alteration spells. Additionally, other Alteration spells can add handy knick-knacks such as boosted defense, detection of various creatures, and even paralysis — all of which can benefit from the Stability Perk's prolonged duration.

NEXT: 10 Ways The Elder Scrolls Could Be A Dungeons & Dragons 5e Campaign Setting


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Skyrim: The Best Mage build (Spell Class Setup)

Skyrim: The 10 Best Destruction Magic Perks, Ranked

Destruction magic is the primary damage-based school of magic in The Elder Scrolls franchise, and it's a powerful combat type in Skyrim. Destruction magic includes three core elements including fire, frost, and shock. All of these elements have perks specifically based around them so that you can customize your mage in any way that you choose.

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There are also destruction perks that focus on other types of magic, such as runes, as well as perks that cut the amount of magic required to cast a spell in half. If you plan to use destruction magic for a Skyrim build, then you should study the different perks and elements to decide exactly how you want to build your character.

10 Rune Master

With the Rune Master perk, you can place runes 5 times further away from you than ordinarily. Runes aren't particularly powerful; however, they can be used for a stealth-mage hybrid build or for situations where you need to deal damage to multiple enemies that are near each other.

Runes can be placed onto the ground and will explode when an enemy enters the area. As previously mentioned, runes can damage multiple enemies at once. That's very useful if you have a rune spell that deals a lot of damage. Being capable of placing them far away ensures that an enemy won't attack you because the rune will stop them before they can get to you.

9 Augmented Frost

Frost spells are often regarded as unpopular compared to the other elements in Skyrim. However, that doesn't mean that they can't be useful for certain mage builds. The Augmented Frost perk adds 25 or 50 percent more damage towards your frost damage dealt, including powerful enchanted weapons.

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This extra frost damage may not seem like a lot at first, but it's very useful for spells that already deal a lot of damage -- such as expert and master-level frost spells.

8 Disintegrate

Disintegrate is a great perk for mages that value the power of lightning. If you are using shock-based magic while fighting an enemy, then your attack has a chance to completely disintegrate the enemy if their health is low. Although this effect won't activate every time you're in combat, it's still useful since it occurs commonly.

This perk is particularly useful for fights with powerful enemies such as trolls or high-level bandits since it can immediately defeat them once you lower their health.

7 Augmented Shock

Augmented Shock allows you to deal extra damage with shock-based attacks, and it has 2 tiers. The first tier grants you +25 percent damage, while the second tier grants +50 percent damage. As with other perks of this type, it also grants extra damage while using enchanted shock weapons.

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This perk is only useful for players who regularly use shock magic, but considering that it's one of the most popular types of magic in Skyrim, many mages will get a lot of use out of unlocking this perk.

6 Augmented Flames

Augmented Flames is a perk that grants extra damage while using fire magic and weapons with flame-based enchantments. Fire magic is the strongest type of destruction magic in Skyrim since it deals extra burning damage after you hit an enemy with a fire attack.

Since Augmented Flames focuses on the strongest type of destruction magic in Skyrim, it's the most powerful of the 3 Augmented perks. This perk is a must-have if you want to become the strongest destruction mage in Skyrim.

5 Destruction Dual Casting

Destruction Dual Casting is one of the most fun perks you can unlock in the Destruction perk tree. This perk makes it so that dual casting the same spell creates a stronger effect, essentially granting you a more powerful version of the spell you're using.

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Not only does this perk buff the damage of a single spell while dual casting it, but it's also a great perk since it only requires 1 perk point to fully unlock. If you enjoy using a single spell during combat, then you should unlock the Destruction Dual Casting perk as quickly as possible.

4 Impact

The Destruction Dual Casting perk is great; however, the Impact perk takes it to the next level by staggering opponents while you're dual casting the same spell.

Staggering is essentially a type of temporary paralysis where an enemy stops attacking for a few seconds to re-center themselves, which can give you the time you need to defeat that enemy. If you have the Impact perk, then you should always be dual casting the same spell since it gives you a major advantage against the enemy.

3 Intense Flames

The Intense Flames perk makes enemies flee from combat if they get hit by fire damage while their health is low. This effect is powerful since it lowers the number of enemies that you have to fight at once.

As previously mentioned, fire damage is very powerful, so it's no surprise that enemies would run away from you while using it. It's also notable that an opponent may die if they're on fire and have low health while running away.

2 Expert Destruction

Every perk that cuts down on the amount of magicka required to cast a spell is useful; however, the Expert Destruction perk is the most useful since it's likely that you will end up using expert level spells the most.

Expert Destruction cuts the amount of magicka required to cast expert-level destruction spells in half, which frees up a lot of your magicka and allows it to last longer in combat. The Adept Destruction and Master Destruction perks are also useful for a seasoned mage; however, the Expert Destruction perk is arguably the most useful since the most important destruction spells in Skyrim are expert level.

1 Deep Freeze

Although frost magic is the least popular magical element in Skyrim, the Deep Freeze perk is the best destruction perk in the game. This perk paralyzes your enemies when their health is low. That's an incredibly powerful perk since it gives you the time to finish them off. Paralyzing an enemy renders them immobile, but they'll also fall down then spend a few seconds picking themselves up.

The Deep Freeze perk is the most notable reason to use frost magic in Skyrim, especially if you can't decide on which element to focus your time around. Luckily, you can focus on any element so you can eventually unlock the Deep Freeze perk while using fire or shock magic until it's unlocked.

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Skyrim: Mage Build Guide

Mages are one of the toughest builds to execute properly in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. That's because the game hasn't done a great job at balancing magic in the long run. Spellcasters tend to fare well early into the game but struggle later on as their damage tanks compared to other builds like the classic stealth archer and even two-handed warrior.

With how much close-range combat is included in the game, it can also feel daunting to even attempt playing a mage. That being said, there's a way to make things work and to even feel empowered as a mage. While it's not as gratifying as playing a high damage stealth archer or a tanky warrior bashing through enemies, it requires a lot of planning and strategizing which can feel surprisingly rewarding in the long run. Here's how to get started on your mage journey.

RELATED: Skyrim The 5 Best & Worst Things About Playing A Mage Class

Updated on August 5th, 2021 by Anastasia Maillot: Building the perfect mage continues to be a tough one in Skyrim, due to the persisting imbalance that magic suffers from in the game. There's a lot of information to go through when it comes to a mage build, which is why this guide is among the lengthiest.

Due to this, the Skyrim mage build guide has been made easier to follow and read, with spells, perks, gear and trainers, and such listed out conveniently. A few fixes regarding Illusion perks were also made.

The Best Races For A Mage In Skyrim

Here are four races that are ideal for a mage build in Skyrim, thanks to their unique abilities, starting skills, and passive effects.


Imperials are a decent choice. They have a free Calm spell, the Voice of the Emperor, which they can use once per day. It calms everyone in the vicinity for 30 seconds and is fantastic for mages that generally want to avoid getting overrun by enemies. Imperials also get a 25 point starting skill rating in Restoration, making them great healers.


The Dunmer are another good choice. They start with 25 points in Destruction magic, which is by far the most useful and versatile school of magic. Their race power, Ancestor's Wrath, which surrounds them in flames for 60 seconds, is another great way to keep enemies at a distance.


The Bretons are the second most solid choice for mages. Not only do they have a 25 percent magic resistance, which makes them strong even against other mages, but their unique ability Dragonskin allows them to drain 50 percent Magicka from enemy spells for 60 seconds. They make excellent conjurers as well, with 25 starting points in Conjuration magic.

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Altmers are the go-to choice here and by far the best. They get +50 Magicka right off the bat. Their special ability Highborn lets them regenerate 25 percent of their Magicka per second for 60 seconds once a day. Moreover, they start with 25 points in the Illusion school of magic.

The Best Mage Skills And Spells

All five schools of magic are extremely powerful, and it all comes down to your personal preferences and play style. However, the mage build suggested here for Skyrim is one that puts Destruction magic as the primary skill, and pairs it with two secondary skills, Conjuration and Alteration.

Primary School: Destruction

Destruction is your bread and butter when it comes to high damage spells, particularly Frost and Flames. Frost is handy as it incapacitates and slows enemies down, preventing them from getting close to you. Flames on the other hand deals devastating damage over time. Shock is generally considered the weakest and is only great against enemies who depend on Magicka.

Recommended Destruction Spells

Spell LevelSpell Name
ApprenticeIce Spike Firebolt
AdeptFireball Chain Lightning

Secondary Schools: Conjuration And Alteration

Paired with Destruction, it's recommended to invest in Conjuration. Mages are weak when fighting at close range, so you want to have distractions like conjurable entities that can tank the front line of the enemy while you stand back. Some of the best Conjuration spells like Conjure Atronach or Raise Zombie can quite literally save your life in a pinch.

For defense and pre-fight, there's Alteration. This will be your main way of protecting yourself through powerful spells like Oakflesh. Mages tend to be weak since they wear no armor, but Oakflesh, and its later version Ebonyflesh, will help you tank a bit more damage when things get sticky.

Recommended Conjuration and Alteration Spells

ApprenticeConjure Flame AtronachStoneflesh
AdeptConjure Frost AtronachIronflesh
ExpertConjure Dremora LordEbonyflesh
MasterDead ThrallDragonhide

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Optional Paths: Illusion, Restoration, And Enchanting

Illusion is the school you can safely ignore, if you'd like. However, if you're into stealth and would like to challenge yourself to be a sneaky mage, it's worth it simply for the sake of the powerful Muffle spell.

When it comes to Restoration, it can also be ignored in favor of Alchemy. Alchemy is much more versatile as a skill, since it allows you to craft potions that can make you tankier and help you regenerate your Health and Magicka in tough fights. Moreover, when faced with fellow mages, you can use potions of Resist Magic to further protect yourself.

Recommended Illusion and Restoration Spells

ApprenticeMuffleFast Healing
AdeptN/AClose Wounds
ExpertInvisibilityCircle of Protection

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Some mage builds can also incorporate Enchanting instead of Alchemy. This allows you to craft gear with specific resistances and regeneration rates, some of which can be immensely powerful. It's more a matter of preference when it comes to choosing between either of these two, but what's certain is that you should pick either Enchanting or Alchemy, since every build benefits from a crafting-type skill.

It's not recommended to invest in any of the armor skill trees, simply because the mage robes do not count as armor and would therefore make any invested points useless. Unless you're planning on making an armored mage (which is a valid option, too, but not as powerful in terms of Magicka), just focus on your choice of magic schools and either Alchemy or Enchanting.

The Best Mage Perks In Skyrim

Now that you have an idea of what skill trees to level, let's look at perks recommended for each skill tree. For Destruction, the entire perk tree is worth unlocking, especially the spell level perks. In the Conjuration perk tree, perks that allow you to cast your summons further and that extend the duration and damage of conjurable entities are key. The ones you can ignore are perks related to bound weapons.

For Alteration perks, the entire tree is worth unlocking, especially since casting Oakflesh once at lower levels is usually enough to bump your Alteration by one level. Restoration isn't generally worth your time.

For the two crafting skills, Alchemy and Enchanting, the former is the recommended route. Alchemy's best perk is without a doubt Alchemist. You can ignore the rest as a mage and just invest in the first perk in the entire Alchemy tree until you reach level 80 and can create powerful potions.

Recommended Perks
  • Impact: spells will stagger enemies.
  • Rune Master: cast runes as a crowd control strategy.
  • Augmented Frost: increases damage by 25 percent
  • Flames I and Flames II: increases damage by 25 percent
  • Summoner: increases summoning range.
  • Necromancy: undead summons last longer.
  • Atromancy: atronachs and dremora remain twice as long.
  • Twin Souls: have two summons at the same time.
  • Elemental Potency: increases the health pool of summoned beasts.
  • Dark Souls: increases the health pool of summoned beasts.
  • Stability: spell duration increased by 50 percent.
  • Magic Resistance: negates 30 percent of magic damage.
  • Animage: spells work on higher-level animals.
  • Kindred Mage: spells work on higher-level people.
  • Quiet Casting: all spells are cast silently.
  • Master of the Mind: spells work on dremora, Dwemer automatons, and undead.
  • Recovery: regenerates Magicka 25 percent and then 50 percent faster.
  • Regeneration: spells heal you 50 percent more.
  • Necromage: all spells are more potent against undead.
  • Enchanter: enchantments are 20, 40, 60, 80, and finally 100 percent stronger.
  • Insightful Enchanter: skill-based enchantments on armor are 25 percent stronger.
  • Corpus Enchanter: Stamina, Magicka, and Health enchantments on armor are 25 percent stronger.

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The Best Gear For Skyrim Mages

Mage builds in Skyrim are known for being squishy. Primarily, you'll rely on your robes, as well as various accessories like amulets, rings, and circlets. Basic robes won't be hard to come by, and after you join the College of Winterhold, you'll receive a set from Mirabelle.

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In random loot, there are three types of enchantments you should look out for:

  • Fortify Magicka: increases your pool of Magicka.
  • Fortify Magicka Regen: increases the rate at which your Magicka regenerates.
  • Fortify School Of Magic: increases your skill in a specific school of magic, like Destruction, Alteration, Illusion, and so on.

There's also an array of unique gear that is ideal for mage builds in Skyrim.

Item NameStatsLocation
Archmage's RobesThe robes make all spells 15 percent cheaper to cast and grant you +50 Magicka points and +100 percent Magicka regeneration.Rewarded for finishing the College of Winterhold questline.
Mage's CircletThe circlet boosts your Magicka up to 70 points.Rewarded at the end of the College quest titled Good Intentions. For the best version, wait until level 25.
Savos Aren's amuletGives you 50 additional Magicka points.Rewarded at the end of the College quest titled Containment.
Necromancer amuletGives 50 additional Magicka. Spells are 25 percent cheaper, but your Health and Stamina regenerate 25 percent slower.Found during the Blood On The Ice quest in Windhelm.
Amulet of JulianosIncreases Magicka by 10 points.Found as random loot.
NahkriinIncreases Magicka by 50 points. Destruction and Restoration spells are 20% percent cheaper to cast.Defeat the dragon priest guarding the entrance to Sovngarde.
MiraakIncreases Magicka up to 70 points.Defeat Miraak in the Dragonborn DLC.
Helmet of the Old GodsIncreases Magicka by 30 points.Complete the quest No One Escapes Cidhna Mine and side with Madanach.

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Standing Stones And Shrines For Mages

Standing Stones and shrines can be helpful to add a few passive boosts to a mage build in Skyrim. However, some Standing Stones do come with negative side effects.

The Mage Stone is the safest option out of the three. It can be found early on in the game as you follow the cobblestone path out of Helgen towards Riverwood, next to the two other Standing Stones. To get the most out of the Divine shrines, praying at the shrine of Akatosh and Julianos are the best options.

Shrine or Standing Stone NameApplied Buffs
The Apprentice Stone+100 percent Magicka regeneration, but you're +100 percent weaker to Magicka.
The Atronach Stone50 Magicka points and absorbs 50 percent of incoming spells, but Magicka regenerates 50 percent slower.
The Mage StoneAll magic-related skills level up 20 percent quicker.
Shrine of Akatosh10 percent faster Magicka regeneration.
Shrine of Julianos25 additional Magicka points.

The Best Mage Trainers And Factions In Skyrim

It's not easy to level up magic. Skyrim's mage builds, however, rely on leveling skills fast. Alteration, in particular, can be tricky, since casting a single spell like Oakflesh takes a lot of Magicka early on in the game and can therefore only be used once in a fight.

In addition to seeking out trainers, it's recommended to join the College of Winterhold. The College is the go-to faction for any pure mage characters and can help you get a headstart on learning a bunch of spells. All schools of magic are accessible at the College as well, which makes finding trainers much easier.

School of MagicTrainers and Locations
  • Faralda: at the College of Winterhold.
  • Wuunferth the Unliving: court wizard of Ulfric Stormcloak, found upstairs in his palace.
  • Sybille Stentor: court wizard of Jarl Elisif, found in Solitude's Blue Palace.
  • Garan Marethi: exclusive to the Dawnguard DLC, found in Castle Volkihar.
  • Phinis Gestor: at the College of Winterhold.
  • Falion: around Morthal, usually found at night.
  • Runil: in Falkreath.
  • Talvas Fathryon: exclusive to the Dragonborn DLC, found in Tel Mithryn.
  • Tolfdir: at the College of Winterhold.
  • Dravynea: in Kynesgrove.
  • Drevis Neloren: at the College of Winterhold.
  • Atub: in Largashbur orc stronghold.
  • Colette Marence: at the College of Winterhold.
  • Danica Pure-Spring: in Whiterun, at the Temple of Kynareth.
  • Keeper Carcette: in Hall of the Vigilant, only if the Dawnguard DLC isn't active.
  • Florentius Baenius: exclusive to the Dawnguard DLC, found in Fort Dawnguard.
  • Aphia Velothi: exclusive to the Dragonborn DLC, found in Raven Rock.

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The Best Combat Strategy For Mages In Skyrim

Even with the proper gear, the right perks, and skills, playing a mage is tough. The most common mistake is to take too much damage and not use your speed and range to your advantage. With no armor, you have high mobility but the disadvantage of being weak.

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Always go in with a plan. Use pre-fight as a time to cast spells like Oakflesh and drink potions that boost your regeneration rate and resistances. Cast any Conjuration spells to ensure you have enough meat shields to protect you against close-range enemies.

Get a follower as well. The tankier, the better. Any member of the Companions, with the exception of Aela, is a great choice, since they're essential characters and will never die, and specialize in one-handed or two-handed combat, along with heavy armor. This, in combination with one or two summoned creators, allows you to distract your enemies while you stay in the back and cast your Destruction spells.

Area of effect spells are also immensely useful, as are scrolls. Runes, in particular, can allow you to control a fight effectively, especially when you get overwhelmed. Shouts like Unrelenting Force and Whirlwind Sprint are wonderful when the enemy is getting too close to you, to push them away or to escape.

The bottom line for a mage is to never be fully aggressive. Relying solely on Destruction spells will get you punished. This is why having Alteration and Conjuration as your defensive secondary skills and Destruction as your offensive primary skill is a solid strategy.

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